10 Worst Bets -- Stay Away From These! by Gayle Mitchell . April 2000

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10 Worst Bets -- Stay Away From These!

by Gayle Mitchell

No matter how much you like the games listed below, I suggest you stay away from them. They spell disaster for your pocketbook.

They are all the worst bets in the house, and I have the percentages to prove it.

In my best casino bets/games article, I mentioned that casino players should target those games than have less than a 3% casino advantage when played with correct, accurate strategies. In stark contrast, check out the sky-high house edge for the bets/games below: 

It is not difficult for the educated, intelligent player to locate a substitute casino game or better strategy in order to stay away from the following much less profitable bets.

Worst Bet #1: Keno.  Definitely run away from this game!  The casinos are almost begging you to play keno; just look at how much floor space they devote to the game, and you cannot eat a meal anywhere in the casino without a keno-runner hawking the game. Could this be because the casino advantage starts at 25%----the highest percentage hold of any casino game?

Check this out: Your chance of hitting eight for eight is 230,000 to 1, and hitting 10 for 10 is nine times harder than winning the lottery.

Casinos now offer a "ways" bet, or video keno as a means to draw in uneducated gamblers. These optional bets do not increase your odds,  nor change the fact that  the house edge is  still 25%+.  This truly is a no-win game.

Worst Bet #2: The Big Wheel.   The house edge here is 15%. This "game" (which is really just a big money maker for the casino) is usually found at the casino exits and entrances. On the Big Wheel with pictures of $5, $10 and $20 bills; you put your money down and hope to match the spin of the wheel. Of course, the casino is hoping that as you are leaving you will throw down your last $20. That way they have succeeded in taking all your money. Come on, folks, you know there are much better bets in the house. Besides, I hope you are never down to your last $20 on any gambling trip.

Worst Bet #3: Roulette.  Specifically, the 5 number line bet. Placing your chip on the dividing lines between 0 and 1 to cover  0, 00, 1, 2, & 3.  Pays 6-1.

While the double zero roulette wheel is bad enough at a casino advantage of 5.26%; this particular bet tops the roulette list of the very worst bet with house edge of 7.29%.

Worst Bet #4: Caribbean Stud Poker. The  worst option in this game is the progressive meter where an additional $1 wager leaves you hoping for a natural royal flush. With 650,000 to 1 odds of hitting it,  this game is just way too expensive. Another disadvantage is the fact that the game cannot be played without the dealer holding at least a king and an ace. How frustrating to have a bonus hand, and not show it off--slows the pace of the game, also. Move over to mini-baccarat, pai-gow poker, or live poker.

Worst Bet #5: Let It Ride. This popular game has a lot of fans and a video version also; but, the casino advantage sits at 3.5% just over the acceptable 3% or less.  With other options and "choice" card games to choose, leave this one behind.

Worst Bet #6: Red Dog.  Another 3.5% casino advantage game. 

Now I know casino gamblers are going to play this card game and numbers 4 and 5 no matter what I say, however all I ask is that you try the better table games, and or machines. Let's call it a social experiment performed for profits.

Worst Bet #7: Blackjack   Played without basic strategy. Do not give the house an advantage of more than 5%.  Learn the best hit/stand strategies and card counting.

Worst Bet #8: Any proposition bet on a Craps Table. This includes field bets, hardways and Big  6 and 8. The house advantage with these starts at 9% and goes up to 16%.  Don't get caught up in the 'roar' of  the game to the point that you lose track of the best craps bets.

Worst Bet #9: Video Poker with no strategy and no knowledge or ability to read pay schedules.  Random play or hunches increases the casino's advantage way above 3%.  So does playing a partial/short pay as opposed to a full-pay machine, or less than maximum coins. Notice that even the best 'locals' casinos in Vegas with plenty of full pay VP versions will place a short-pay next to a full-pay machine. Intelligent casino players know how to read a VP pay schedule before they sit down and play those cards. 

Worst Bet #10: Straight Slots that have less than a 98% payback.  Take the time to search and test slots before giving up your hard-earned money.

Do not hit the first slot you see. Choose the best version for you whether it be basic, progressive or bonus video slots. Carefully select your allowable denomination within  your gambling bankroll and locate a machine based on slot placement.

You will notice that some of the games mentioned--craps, slots, video poker, blackjack, and roulette--also are on my recommended list of  the ten best bets/games in any casino. The difference is in how you play them.

Intelligent, educated gamblers will know how to play these games to get the most value for their money and enjoy a profitable casino experience.

Gayle Mitchell is author of  Casino Gambling Made Easier   books, booklets and strategy cards.